If you haven’t come across them before, they are called preauricular sinuses, and are totally normal thing to have. Although just under one per cent of people in the UK are born with the barely visible holes, in some parts of the world the frequency is far higher and closer to 1 in 10.
Some cultures have created myths around them, including in Ethiopia where they are said to grant wealth. The holes usually appear at the point the ear cartilage connects to the face and can look like ‘nodules, dents and dimples’.
They are definitely not for piercing but the only health complication that may occur is the odd infection which is easily treatable with antibiotics. According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, the congenital disorder was first reported in 1864. The holes appear during early fetal development and are hereditary.
The cause isn’t known but Business Insider reported that evolutionary biologist, Neil Shubin, theorised they could be an ‘evolutionary remnant of fish gills’.